A unicorn is a magical creature, closely connected to horses, with the colors of the rainbow in (and on) its head. That's also the description of Laurel Shepherd, our Sampling Director!
A life at full gallop
Laurel was born in Vernon, British Columbia. No, she's not from St. Theodore and she doesn't speak with an accent to make herself interesting. It's easy to understand from the start that with Laurel, "What you see is what you get"!
She followed the rainbow with her daughter to arrive in Quebec in 1987, directly in the region she never left. And then everything went very fast, at full gallop even! A few months after her arrival, she started working at Beaulieu Canada. That's right, 34 years ago!
Keeping a tight rein
Just imagine. Far from home and not speaking a word of French. Would that stop Laurel Shepherd from getting ahead? Hell no! Just change the hair color and go!
During her interview for her first position at Beaulieu Canada, in the IT department, the little unicorn promised that she would learn French quickly, even though she couldn't even order a meal in a restaurant in French at that time, and that she would be an asset to the team, even though she didn't have a background in IT, but rather in office automation.
Laurel not only kept a tight rein, she kept her promise! Three months after starting her new job, she was fluent enough in French to perform her duties 100% and everyone understood her. Three months to learn a difficult language like French, when you start from scratch, is a race worthy of Blue Bonnets!
Betting on the right horse
Since 1987, a lot has changed for Laurel. But the unicorn seems to know how to attract magic. She knew how to bet on the right horse by staying loyal to Beaulieu Canada. She knew there were plenty of opportunities and despite the different avenues that life brings, she couldn't see herself returning to her native province. Her home is here, with those around her, her work, her world, her horse.
Knowing how to seize opportunities
At Beaulieu Canada, there seems to be a high concentration of people who have the same gift, that of recognizing the talent and potential of others. From this perspective, Laurel has certainly had plenty of opportunities to choose from. One day, one of her superiors, who helped her develop her career at Beaulieu Canada, told her:
"I can hire someone for the position I'm talking about. But I can't hire a personality." And according to Laurel, that sums up the company's spirit and vision.
It's an established culture where potential, personality, willingness and ability are truly observed and taken into account. Way ahead of degrees and years of experience acquired elsewhere. And it makes sense, since what we do is unique. The details can't be learned elsewhere and the expertise can't be acquired elsewhere. Experts teach beginners to become experts, period. And that's how it works, how employees can build a long-term career, like Laurel.
Seeing life in pink?
Of course, not everything is as rosy as Laurel's hair! No one would believe it if they said such a thing. In Laurel's opinion, there are, of course, tougher days from time to time. But on the account of a career, that's just a blip. "Look, what can I complain about? Here, we have a freedom that you rarely find elsewhere. People listen to us, our ideas are really taken into account and, above all, I'm accepted as I am! Me, the "Old Horse Lady" who changes hair at every turn, I have done all the colors of the palette! Me, the Laurel who came from far away, who didn't speak a word of French but in whom we believed! Me, the little one with character! I don't have to be someone else, ever. I wouldn't be able to anyway. I don't feel like I'm in a box. And that's worth a lot of other jobs that might pay more, or have this or that benefit. Being able to be free and be yourself is priceless", says the beautiful unicorn.
Even though Laurel has been working on the factory side for several years, having moved from IT to marketing and from marketing to sampling, she says she's never felt even an ounce of sexism or even reluctance in the work environment.
"You don't see that here. There are a lot of women in the plant and there are a lot of women in management positions. There's respect", she says.
They say riding a horse is borrowing freedom. That's exactly what Laurel Shepherd is all about. Whether you know her well or not, you feel like you're riding with a friend, a motherly soul who cares for others and herself. It seems that her personality breathes a well-assumed and well-deserved freedom. And it's precisely because of people like Laurel that Beaulieu Canada sticks to people's personality before anything else.